Hoop Cats turn attention to BU

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My apologies for not posting the last couple weeks.  With the holidays and a recent trip to Arizona in the rearview mirror, I’m ready to dive back into the UVM basketball beat.

And just in time for the biggest game of the season thus far: Boston University at Vermont, a battle between the America East’s preseason favorites that will take place Sunday at Patrick Gym and televised on ESPNU.

Talk about star power. The three best players in the league will be on the court for a game I expect will sell out Patrick Gym for the first time this season.  We all know Marqus Blakely’s value to UVM (12-5 overall, 3-0 AE). Well, BU (9-8, 4-1) has high-flying forward John Holland, who leads the league in scoring with a 19.1 average, and Corey Lowe, the best guard in the league who is averaging 17.1 points. The Terriers also boast Jake O’Brien, the reigning America East rookie of the year.

Holland and Lowe combined for 63 points in a win over Hartford last week — the first time an America East team had teammates go over 30 points in the same game since UVM’s Taylor Coppenrath and T.J. Sorrentine accomplished the feat in a win over Dartmouth in 2005.

“They have a lot of firepower,” UVM coach Mike Lonergan said today before practice. “Hopefully we can do a good job on Corey Lowe. As (UVM assistant) Matt Hahn says, ‘he’s a great bad-shot maker.’ He hits tough shots. Then Holland, he can go off at any time.”

UVM senior guard Maurice Joseph, UVM’s second leading scorer at 14.9 points a game, has a game plan for the streaking Cats, winners of 10 of their last 11 games.

“We are going to try to take advantage of our depth,” he said.

Vermont is coming off an easy win at Albany, a game which the Cats pulled away by hitting 6 of 8 3-pointers in the second half. Still …

“Against BU, I think we need to get the ball inside,” Lonergan said. “Outside of MoJo and Joey (Accaoui), we haven’t shot well from 3s this season. I think they’ll gimmick us (on defense) and either play triangle-and-two or something to try to stop Marqus. I think guys like Evan Fjeld are going to be key in this game.

“We need to ge the ball in the paint, even if that means players like Garvey Young driving and getting to the rim. We have to get the ball inside and get to the foul line, then try to take advantage of our depth.”

Vermont has beaten BU six of the last seven meetings.

*****

Remember to follow me on Twitter. I’ll be Tweeting throughout the Catamounts’ three-game home stand.

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